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Crime reporting to go digital in Glendale

Plan will provide an option, Glendale Police say, not a reinvention.

May 18, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Reporting a crime in Glendale could soon be just as easy as the press of a button.

Possibly as soon as this summer, residents who want to report vandalism, lost property and identity, petty and grand theft and bicycle thefts to Glendale police can do so via their computers or smartphones.

Police Department officials have plans to launch a new Citizen Online Police Reporting system through which the public can file reports online instead of calling an officer out to the scene for minor crimes.

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"It's just an option," said police Sgt. Tom Lorenz of the system. "What this does is just offer you a way to expedite the reporting procedure."

The reporting system, he said, is similar to a resident calling 911 and providing information to a dispatcher. A resident can still request an officer to come out to the scene of a crime.

"This is not a reinvention of the system," Lorenz said.

Police officials expect the new system to free up officers who would otherwise have responded to the call, likely spending at least an hour to take and process each report, he said.

The system may also encourage some residents to report crimes, such as graffiti, that they normally wouldn't, helping police to better track crime trends, Lorenz said.

The system costs $50,400 for the initial startup.

After the program's first year, police expect costs for running the program to drop to $16,200 annually.

Residents who don't have access to a laptop and need to report a crime will be able visit the department's lobby area and draft a report at a computer kiosk. They will also be able to upload photographs.

Once a report has been filed, the resident will receive a case number. A shift supervisor with the department's Communication Bureau will make sure it was filled out properly and will push it through so it can be read by a police sergeant within 72 hours of it being filed.

The sergeant has the task of prioritizing the report, assigning it to a detective or placing it on hold if there are no workable leads, Lorenz said.

A committee with members from various department bureaus will convene monthly to review the system's performance, as well as seek feedback from residents.

"I think a lot of people will want to use it," said Marilyn Gunnell, a member of the Community Police Partnership Advisory Committee.

She added that the system should free up officers to handle more serious crimes.

Last year, police logged 1,903 reports for vandalism, lost property and identity, petty, grand and bicycle theft — and in all of them, no suspect was identified, according to the Police Department.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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